About 10 years ago LEGO, TT Games, and Lucasarts released the first LEGO Star Wars games which sparked the beginning of something beautiful, the world of Lego gaming as we know it. From Star Wars to Batman, Lord of the Rings to Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO and TT Games have dominated the buildable bricks game market with their faithful recreations of beloved franchises with the popular LEGO game formula. Its now 2016, and TT Games is back at it with another Star Wars hit! This time setting its sights on the 2015 hit film, the Force Awakens.
After absolutely loving the film, I have been eagerly awaiting this game since it was announced earlier this year. After getting it and playing for hours, I cannot say that I am disappointed. TT Games could have just made a direct LEGO adaptation of the movie and left it at that, but they did so much more. Not only is this the first LEGO Star Wars game to include speech, but they also pulled most of the films stars in to record additional voices for the story! One star in particular was Harrison Ford, it seemed like they really had fun with him (still can’t believe he delivered lines about ‘Wookiee Cookies”). Its little details like this which show that TT is only improving their games.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced tons of new features to the series of LEGO games from TT Games. The new cover system feels like it was pulled right out of Gears of the War and honestly fits really good in the world of LEGO. When you approach the ‘Blaster Battle’ stages, you’ll hit the corresponding interact button and immediately snap to cover. After that you can movie left and right from cover to cover, as well as aim and fire at the oncoming threat.
You don’t need to be a LEGO fanatic to know there’s a fair share of building involved with the toy. Building is also one of the biggest parts of the LEGO video games. In this new installment, the building system has been improved so now that you can build multiple things with the same set of bricks, meaning build one thing, use it, then break it and build something else. This addition is a lot of fun and definitely adds a new dynamic to the game.
Some of the smaller, great things in the game are that the levels are paced out a lot better than most other level games. Instead of one 40 minute level that goes on and on, the levels are broken up into different segments such as the ‘Blaster Battles’ and flying sections to go along with the normal puzzle-platformer sections. Speaking of flying, the mechanics seem to be improved. Flying used to be my least favorite parts of LEGO games, but they definitely improved them. The game gives you an option to invert the flying, and if you’re playing in Co-op the choice only applies to the person who chose it. Meaning that one person can have inverted controls while the other does not.
The graphics are more fluid, and definitely a lot easier on the eyes. The rendering has improved getting rid of the harsh edges and movements that came with the previous installments. TT Games knows the ratio of LEGO objects to non-LEGO objects on screen at one time and they’re sticking with that formula (they’ve learned their lesson with the LEGO Movie Video Game), having EVERYTHING in the environment be made out of LEGO is not the way to go.
One thing, and this may be one of my favorite things about the game, is the face animations. Every time you swing a weapon, jump, get hit, etc. there is a facial animation that looks really good. This definitely shows that the developers put a lot of time and care into this game, for them to put in something so small (that a lot of people may miss) yet so important that it definitely changes the atmosphere of a scene. I can’t remember another LEGO game being this expressive.
I can honestly not think of much that I don’t like about the game. One thing that bothered me was the characters who have two modes of attack, such as Finn. With Finn you can use a lightsaber as well as your blaster, if it only worked that well. While chopping away at baddies with your lightsaber, all of sudden you’ll pull out your blaster and start shooting rocks instead of slicing Stormtroopers. It definitely ruins the mood, and ends up looking quite buggy. Speaking of bugs, this game has a lot, and I mean A LOT, of glitches. Most weren’t so bad, but quite a few completely just wrecked the play session. The less crucial bugs include glitching through objects, floating objects, etc. But that quickly escalated to the game crashing, characters physically getting stuck in built items, freezing, and even the DISAPPEARANCE OF YOUR AI PARTNER. Lastly, the hubs were a mess. In the first two LEGO Star Wars games you had a hub from where you could access all the games levels (first game was set in Dexter Jettsters diner, second in the Mos Eisley spaceport). In LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens there are FIVE hubs. Each hub is set on a different planet and then one on the Millennium Falcon, so in the end you end up with five very disconnected main hubs.
All that being said, I honestly love this game so much. It’s easily my favorite LEGO game, and definitely one of my favorite overall Star Wars games. Many people look at a LEGO game and see just that, a LEGO game, when in reality they are so much more. This game was able to recreate the story of the Force Awakens in a minimalist sense without making a direct adaptation. It also added more canon content to the story of Episode 7. The game was everything I expected and more. If you are a LEGO and/or Star Wars fan I can not recommend a better game. From the inclusion of the original cast to the LEGO humor we’ve all come to love, this game is great and definitely worth the rather high price point.
LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens is out now for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS Vita, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.